Short Review: Ghostbusters (2016)


This 2016 reboot of the supernatural comedy franchise Ghostbusters has been much expected and almost bound to be a hit. Overall, the new installment does a decent job and, although not equally acclaimed, proves itself to be a worthy successor of the 1980s classic. Considering female empowerment as the social trend in the past few decades, director Paul Feig assigns the title of Ghostbuster to four quirky ladies consisting of two physicists, a technician (probably) and a security guard, while a hunky man, portrayed by Chris Hemsworth, substitutes the traditional role of a dumb blonde. After all, nobody can substantiate the stereotype that women cannot become theoretical physicists, innovate new weapons and fight supernatural enemies. The gender switch successfully offers a fresh perspective, in addition to the hilarious characterisations and interactions among the four women. The performance of Kate McKinnon is particularly worth praising for its blunt and quirky sense of mystery, and I am still laughing, for some unknown reasons, at her line “our president is a plant”.

Still, there are occasions when the movie fails to engage largely due to its inconsistent use of humour and lack of logical connections. For instance, I find the role played by the book puzzling. What is written on the book is almost ignored, besides some brief mention of its theme as ghosts encyclopaedia. I also find it unnecessary to let Rowan North (Neil Casey) killed himself before he could turn on the machine again. He could turn on the machine without being a ghost, not to mention that he became such an ugly ghost which was so easily defeated by the protagonists who were fated to win.

Overall, Ghostbusters does provide a re-installment into the classical series with some well-planned surprises and outstanding visual effects. Yet, audience may be less convinced by its plot, nor will they be consistently engaged.

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